I must say, it's certainly fantastic to be back! You may have learned, 13 weeks ago now I crashed racing my mountain bike and suffered a serious brain injury. The incident forced me into a five week hospital stay to recover enough from my injuries to return home to my family, my lovely wife and three rascally young boys. After returning home, I continued to visit my wonderful and challenging therapy team at Craig Hospital twice a week and still do. I'm feeling much better now but still have a ways to go to make a full scale recovery.
During my time of crisis, TFK has soldiered on wonderfully. My TFK staff mates, Andy Brannon, Christi Stafford, and our resourceful, and just plain smart, board of directors have picked up my workload to keep our important programs giving underserved youth access to cycling and the outdoors rolling. I'm lucky to have such a dedicated, caring team on my side.
After my difficult experience, I am still committed as ever to providing programs that safely give disadvantaged youth access to fun, confidence building experiences in Colorado's spectacular outdoors via mountain bike. This experience has given me astounding life learning lessons, one being: Trips for Kids programs and the youth we serve will continue to be a vital priority in my life.
I'm proud to share, despite my inability to assist with rides I led ably last fall, we are on the brink of celebrating "1K Day", the day we ride with the 1,000th young person of the year! Recognition for this organizational feat must be afforded almost exclusively this year to TFK program manager, Andy Brannon. His dedication to serving young people is almost unbelievable (you should hear him talk about his summer schedule!).
I'm also proud to reveal, to our mostly volunteer email list, we had just over 200 volunteers join our youth rides this year! Last year, we mustered up 109 ride volunteers and in 2009 only managed 82. We have basically doubled our volunteer support this year! Volunteers certainly make our rides safer and more fun...two factors we are always trying to maximize for the kids! Thank you volunteers for sharing your time, energy and passion with the underserved children we serve.
Lastly, a heartfelt thank you to all of you who have continued to support me, my family and friends, and Trips for Kids Denver/Boulder during this difficult time. We couldn't have made it without you!